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    This page contains Supreme Court rulings -- with summaries of the majority and minority conclusions.

07-MA-EPA on Nov 29, 2006

Decided Apr 2, 2007
Case Ruling: MASSACHUSETTS v. EPA
Numerous entities, including the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, asked the EPA to judge that carbon dioxide (CO2) was a pollutant causing global warming and, acting under the Clean Air Act (CAA), to make rules restricting its release by newly manufactured automobiles. The EPA declined to do so.

HELD: Delivered by Stevens; joined by Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg & Breyer

The plaintiffs have standing for a federal case. Massachusetts, in particular could make a showing of injury (rising coastal water levels), causation (an incremental lowering of CO2 would be helpful), and remedy (the EPA could effect an incremental lowering). The EPA believed that Congress did not intend the EPA to regulate substances that cause climate change. The EPA, however, should find CO2 (among other gases) falls within the definition of a pollutant because it is a "substance" that is "emitted into the ambient air."

DISSENT #1: Roberts dissents; joined by Scalia, Thomas & Alito

The plaintiffs do not have standing because they can show no concrete injury, the evidence of causation by greenhouse gases of rising coastal water in Massachusetts was minimal (and undercut by its own expert's affidavit), and there was no showing that a rule issued by the EPA could provide measurable relief to the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs' claim cannot truly be resolved by decision of a federal court.

DISSENT #2: Scalia dissents; joined by Roberts, Thomas, & Alito

It was a reasonable interpretation by the EPA of the CAA that Congress intended the EPA to regulate air pollution in the "ambient air," that is, air at or near the surface of the earth, not the upper reaches of the atmosphere where greenhouse gases are said to have their detrimental effects. Further, nothing in the CAA, not even a petition for regulations, requires the EPA to make a "judgment" that a pollutant should be regulated, and the Court is not free to order the EPA to do so.


    Participating counts on VoteMatch question 18. Question 18: Prioritize green energy Scores: -2=Strongly oppose; -1=Oppose; 0=neutral; 1=Support; 2=Strongly support.
  • Topic: Environment
  • Headline: States can request that EPA regulate CO2 greenhouse gases (Score: 2)
  • Headline 2: States can't request EPA to regulate CO2 greenhouse gases (Score: -2)
  • Headline 3: EPA's Clean Air Act can regulate pollutants but not CO2 (Score: -1)

    Participating counts on AmericansElect question 2.
  • Headline: States can request that EPA regulate CO2 greenhouse gases (Answer: A)
  • Headline 2: States can't request EPA to regulate CO2 greenhouse gases (Answer: B)
  • Headline 3: EPA's Clean Air Act can regulate pollutants but not CO2 (Answer: D)
  • AmericansElect Quiz Question 2 on Energy: When you think about America’s energy needs, which of the following solutions comes closest to your opinion?
    • A: Strong investment in renewable energy like wind and solar
    • B: More drilling than investment in renewables (mix of both solutions)
    • C: More investment in renewable than drilling (mix of both solutions)
    • D: Strong focus on offshore drilling and allowing drilling in federal lands including wildlife reserves
    • E: Unsure


  • Key for participation codes:
  • Sponsorships: p=sponsored; o=co-sponsored; s=signed
  • Memberships: c=chair; m=member; e=endorsed; f=profiled; s=scored
  • Resolutions: i=introduced; w=wrote; a=adopted
  • Cases: w=wrote; j=joined; d=dissented; c=concurred
  • Surveys: '+' supports; '-' opposes.



Democrats participating in 07-MA-EPA

Stephen Breyer j1US Democratic Appointee to Supreme Court 
Ruth Bader Ginsburg j1US Democratic Appointee to Supreme Court 



Republicans participating in 07-MA-EPA

Samuel Alito j2dUS Republican Appointee to Supreme Court 
Anthony Kennedy j1US Republican Appointee to Supreme Court 
John Roberts w2dUS Republican Appointee to Supreme Court 
Antonin Scalia w3dUS Republican Appointee to Supreme Court 
David Souter j1US Republican Appointee to Supreme Court (retired 2009) 
John Paul Stevens w1US Republican Appointee to Supreme Court (retired 2010) 
Clarence Thomas j2dUS Republican Appointee to Supreme Court 



Independents participating in 07-MA-EPA



Total recorded by OnTheIssues:

Democrats: 2
Republicans: 7
Independents: 0


















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